Bypro resident Anna Slone traveled to Kentucky Hearing Aids on Ky. 321 in Prestonsburg Monday to be fitted with new ear molds for a pair of hearing aids she bought “second-hand” years ago.
Within a few minutes, however, her life changed.
After cleaning her ears in preparation to fit Slone with the new ear molds, Kentucky Hearing Aids owner Andres Rincon brought her out into the business’ lobby, where her daughters were waiting, teary-eyed.
They knew something Slone did not know — she would receive a free pair of hearing aids because she won a contest that Kentucky Hearing Aids hosted in December.
Seeing her daughters and media standing in the lobby, Slone covered her face with her hands and started crying.
“You got new hearing aids,” Rincon told her.
They embraced as she cried more.
“Thank you,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d ever get them.”
As Slone wiped tears from her face, Rincon, standing by her side said, “Can you hear me?”
She said nothing.
He fitted the new hearing aids in her ears.
“Now, we haven’t adjusted these, but can you hear me now?” he asked Slone.
“Oh, loud and clear,” she said. “Yes!”
She and her two daughters hugged each other in the lobby, each of them crying.
“No more worries, Mommy. No more worries,” one of them told her.
“I never dreamed this would happen,” Slone said.
Rincon picked up the hearing aids Slone had been wearing. Her daughter Melissa Lovely reported Slone had to tape them to keep the batteries in.
“These ear molds are 20 years old ... They don’t even fit your ears,” Rincon told Slone. “When you came in a couple of weeks ago, I thought they were someone else’s. So, I told you, you were getting new ear molds. I didn’t tell you, you were getting new hearing aids, too.”
“Oh, I thank you sweet Jesus,” Slone said. “I’ll be crying all day.”
Slone has had trouble hearing since childhood, and the gift she received Monday comes as she has been dealing with numerous other issues in her life. Her husband was hospitalized and couldn’t make the trip with her to the clinic, and her daughter Tresa Bates is also dealing with cancer.
“Everything’s just being going downhill,” Slone said.
She explained how the hearing aids will change her life.
“It means a whole different world,” she said. “I’m hearing better and I haven’t heard this good in 22 years.”
She described what it’s like to not be able to hear well.
“It’s a blank,” she said, explaining that she couldn’t talk on the phone or communicate.
She said she learned how to read lips when she was a child. She talked about how her deaf son can also read lips.
“Really, when you’re in a place where you don’t hear, you don’t communicate with people ... You sit there and look at them like, well, I’m supposed to hear you, but I don’t. What do you do? You just sit. But now, I’m hearing behind, I’m hearing in front of me and all around me. It’s shocking. I don’t really know what to say. I really don’t. It’s just a blessing. I can say God’s been good to me today, along with all the other people around me. Thank you. I really thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Her daughters talked about how their mother can now hear their father when he needs insulin, how she’ll be able to hear a fire alarm and how she’ll be able to hear the phone ring and even to talk to them on the phone. Lovely said Slone will be able to enjoy things that other people take for granted.
She said the hearing aids will “give us our mom back.”
Rincon said Slone’s hearing loss was “profound” and explained that she is nearly deaf. He said the “top of the line” hearing aids Slone received would have cost her $5,000.
“Statistically, one in five people that need hearing aids actually get hearing aids. The other 80 percent don’t because of cost,” Rincon said. “And we know that in Lexington in our old practice, we had a foundation ... where we would help folks that had a demonstrated loss and also couldn’t financially afford them.”
He said he is working to set up a similar foundation in Floyd County.
For information about Kentucky Hearing Aids, call, (606) 263-0507 or visit the company’s Facebook page.